"I've officially made your mom scum like you and me," he said to my son as the tattoo artist walked me out the front door of the establishment. He stood at least 6'5" and went by the nickname Gentle Giant. He was adorned with colorful art on a good portion of his body, and his silky brown hair touched his shoulders. I learned he had a little girl at home and his wife was expecting another. He had a trustworthy face...one that said to me Relax; I'll take care of you as I dig into your skin. And he did; he was capable and very kind. On the ride home I looked down at my taped wrist and thought to myself have I fully and completely gone off the deep end? Have I lost all my scruples and fallen back to my foolish youth? I give you permission this time to judge. I mean, I did it without even telling the hubs, and that is totally unlike me. But don't judge until you've heard the whole story, please.
For the last several years I've toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo. I've thought about it, then wondered if I was crazy or way too old to be thinking of such nonsense. I'd forget about it for awhile until it came up in my mind again at which time I'd entertain the thought and once more put it out of my mind. After all, I wouldn't know where to get it done or what I'd get if I got one. I don't run with those folks who are tattooed, you know. When I was a teenager and young adult, tattooed people were scary people. Getting inked was something only people who were rough-and-tumble did....beach bums, soldiers, bikers, druggies, and the like. The idea of poking and prodding one's body with a needle full of permanent ink was something a little too wild for the crowd I ran with. The scariest thing we ever did was light up a cigarette and thank God I gave up that short-lived habit because, as it turns out, that habit is way more dangerous. Tattooing was huge back in the forties and men did it when they went into the service. I think we all have known someone who was a bad boy in the army or marines and had been inked as part of the whole experience, only to wish they had never done it later in life when the tats faded to a pale green or blue and they had a half-dressed lady glaring up at them from their 80-year-old forearms.
But the last decade, tattooing has once again come into vogue and, to my surprise, all kinds of people started getting them who were not of the wild and hairy kind. People of all walks of life have caught the tattoo bug and it is not uncommon to see all kinds sporting the colorful adornments. I can't remember if it was my son or my youngest daughter who got theirs first, but I really couldn't believe that my offspring would go to such extremes to express themselves. But as I've grown accustomed to their tattoos, I've come to see it as not much more than a new piece of jewelry or a funky new hairstyle, although infinitely more permanent. It has become a part of their personality so to speak and all their tattoos have either a special meaning or they are beautiful to look at. Tim's represent his experiences and have meaning to him and his journey as an adult. I'm sure to some extent at least they remind him of the brave moments he spent in Afghanistan defending our country. I cannot be critical of our amazing veterans (even if it is my son), for anything they do to remind them of their sacrifice to forsake all and stand in harm's way and, if it helps them heal, it is okay by me. Abbie is a gentle soul with a very strong connection to anything she considers an art form and her largest tattoo is a beautiful drawing of colorful flowers. I can honestly say that the art she wears on her arm goes with everything she wears like a fine accessory...tasteful and fun and a little edgy. It suits her to a T.
During my recent beach trip, I decided it might be time to get inked. And where else besides the beach is the place most right to get a tattoo? Nowhere, of course! But this was my completely non-logical reason for deciding to take the plunge: I am not getting any younger. And if it is utterly ridiculous for a 60-year-old to get a tattoo, then it would be even more ridiculous for a 70-year-old, right? Plus, I was ready to overcome my fears and do something that clearly was out of the norm for me. I felt inspired to step out of my tiny little world a bit to do something different. So if the time was ever gonna be right, it was now. The day after I arrived in Tampa, I casually asked Tim if he would take his sweet mama to get a tattoo and, after wiping the look of complete shock from his face, he said he would. I literally walked into a tattoo parlor off the street and put my arm in their hands (but they supposedly had a good reputation). Even my two oldest grandkids were on board and I was able to explain to them the reason for choosing the word I did and they took it all in as they listened intently to a lesson from Nana's heart. My littlest one just took her chunky little finger and ran it across the ink as if she was wondering why she'd never noticed it before. That's what is so precious about children; they don't judge and they accept you just the way you are. Unless, of course, your belly is poking through your shirt and they ask you very innocently if you're gonna have a baby. Oh, well. But even if you WERE 60 and pregnant, they'd love you just the same.
But now you can judge if you really think it necessary. I might have judged you once as well if I'd known you got a tattoo, but I've not found it to cross any boundaries in the realm of my moral beliefs and, for that reason, I don't think I'll ever be sorry I did it. In fact, I love it! I also humbly apologize to all those who've had tattoos for years if I wrongly judged you. Now I understand you. Even the hubs didn't come down on me too hard once he saw it. After all, he knows I'm a bit of a rebel and he knew it was just a matter of time. The word I chose has great meaning for me and it is there every single day to remind me of what is important in life... Every single day..... On my wrist..... In permanent ink..... In permanent black ink. Uh-oh.
Ask me on my 70th birthday how it's all working out for me...the tattoo, that is.
Now folks are telling me it is addictive and I definitely will want another one one day. Are you kidding me? I don't think that's in any way a remote possibility for me, but if there is anything I've learned in my six decades, it's this:
Never say never!
"To seek truth in life is the most important task we will ever undertake. Because it would be heartbreaking to reach the end of life and realize that everything you'd ever believed in or lived for...was a lie." cpreston
Posted by CC
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